Piñon Hall evacuated after afternoon fire incident

Matt Tackett and Serena Bettis

graphic depicting a satellite beacon with the text "Breaking News" in all caps
(Graphic Illustration by Malia Berry | The Collegian)

Students and staff evacuated Piñon Hall Sunday afternoon due to a fire-related incident that brought Poudre Fire Authority crews to campus.

firefighter walking
A firefighter carries hoses away from the scene of a fire inside Piñon Hall Jan. 17, 2021. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

PFA fire investigators do not yet have information on what started the fire and what the extent of the damage to the residence hall is.

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Chris Wolf, a member of the PFA media team, said they dispatched firefighters at 1:51 p.m. and reached fire control at 2:20 p.m. One person was treated and released for smoke inhalation. 

111 students had moved into the residence hall as of Sunday morning, said Mari Strombom, executive director for Housing & Dining Services, although more people could have been in the hall if they moved in throughout the day Sunday or were working in the building. 

Wolf said the fire investigators will have more information on the cause of the fire and its exact location in the building by Monday morning at the earliest.

“The most important thing is the staff responded immediately and evacuated all the students quickly (and) safely,” CSU President Joyce McConnell said. “The students were amazing — they not only followed all the evacuation protocols, but they followed all the (COVID-19) protocols, so they kept everybody safe. I’m really proud of what we were able to do so quickly.” 

Interim Director for HDS Communications and Sustainability Marianne Wieghaus wrote in an email to The Collegian that students were allowed to re-enter the building around 6:30 p.m. Sunday once the building was properly ventilated. Wieghaus wrote that University Housing will provide temporary spaces to students for the night who are bothered by any lingering odor.

The Collegian will update this story as more information becomes available. 

people watching firefighters
Evacuated residents of Piñon Hall watch as first responders tend to a fire inside Jan. 17, 2021. (Matt Tackett | The Collegian)

Editor’s Note: Matt Tackett contributed to the reporting for this article. 

Serena Bettis can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @serenaroseb.